Italian composer, pupil of G. B. Nanino. Began his career as a choirboy and then a director of music at various institutions in Rome. In 1609 became maestro di cappellaof the Santa Casa, Loreto, holding this post for most of the rest of his life. Briefly (1623-26) maestro at St. John Lateran, Rome. One of the most popular and prolific members of the early seicentoRoman school, Cifra not only wrote Masses in a Palestrinian style, but was the first Roman composer to adopt, albeit somewhat unimaginatively, the new concertato manner in church music.Produced eight books of concertato motets, two books of Masses, and numerous polychoral motets, Psalms, and litanies. His secular music consists of 6 books of 5-part madrigals, five books of scherzi and related pieces for smaller forces, and two books of ricercars and canzoni francese.